Ph.D. Admissions FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

General Questions

Can I apply for spring admission?
No. The Ph.D. program accepts applications for fall admission only.

When will admissions decisions be made?
We will send admissions decisions by early February.

If I am not accepted for the I School's Ph.D. program, will I automatically be considered for admission to the MIMS program instead?
No. Because of the different educational goals of each program, the admissions processes are separate and are not shared between the two programs.

What if I have previously applied to the School of Information?
We keep copies of previously submitted transcripts for two years from the date of your previous application; you will still need to submit any new or updated transcripts. We may have copies of previously submitted GRE/GMAT or TOEFL/IELTS scores submitted within the past 5 years; please email to confirm. You will need to retake the TOEFL/IELTS exam if your exam date now falls outside the acceptable time frame, which is 18 months. We request that applicants submit new letters of recommendation, to reflect the updated status of the application.

What is the I School Applicant Feedback Program?
The I School Applicant Feedback Program aims to assist underrepresented students as they apply to the UC Berkeley School of Information Ph.D. program. The I School Applicant Feedback Program is an initiative run by I School Ph.D. students and is specifically intended for Ph.D. applicants from communities that have historically been underrepresented in higher education. This includes, but is not limited to: BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), non-cisgender individuals, members of the LGBTQIA+/queer community, individuals with disabilities, first-generation college students, and individuals from low-income backgrounds. Applicants may receive one round of meaningful written feedback on their resume and application essays from a current Ph.D. student. Participating in the I School Applicant Feedback Program is completely voluntary and separate from the graduate admissions decision.

To participate, please submit your application materials to this form by 11:59 pm PST on November 15, 2020. We will do our best to return written feedback to the email address you provide within a week. Of course, we do have a finite capacity, so essays will be reviewed on a first come, first serve basis. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Emma Lurie (

Letters of Recommendation

If I submit my letters of recommendation online, do I need to mail hard copies too?
No, the online version of the letter will suffice. Due to COVID-19, we are not currently accepting hard copies.

Can letters of recommendation be received after the application deadline?
All supporting application materials (including test scores and letters of recommendation) must be received by the School no later than the announced deadlines.


What if I am currently in school or have not completed my degree?
Please send your current transcripts, in advance of the application deadline. Do not wait for the end of the term or until you have completed your degree. If you are admitted, we will follow up and request your final grades.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

If I choose to include a GRE score with my application, what are the GRE school and department codes?
The school code for UC Berkeley is 4833. The department code for the I School is 0404 (Information Sciences).

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Do foreign national applicants who graduated from a university in the U.S. have to take the TOEFL or IELTS?
If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic coursework with grades of B or better in residence at a U.S. university, you do not need to take the TOEFL. Instead, you must submit an official transcript from the U.S. university.

How long are TOEFL or IELTS scores valid for admission purposes?
No more than 18 months may have passed between the TOEFL or IELTS test date and the application deadline. For example, Fall 2022 applicants should not submit test scores taken before June 2020.

Should I include copies of my TOEFL or IELTS scores in my packet of supplemental materials?
No. Test scores should be sent directly from the testing authorities.

What are the TOEFL school and department codes?
The school code for UC Berkeley is 4833. The department code for the I School is 99.

How can IELTS scores be submitted?
Beginning in Fall 2021, we will no longer be accepting paper Test Report Forms. All IELTS scores must be sent electronically from the testing center, no institution code is required. The UC Berkeley Graduate Division address for identification purposes is: University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Division, Sproul Hall Rm 318, MC 5900, Berkeley, CA 94720.

Tuition, Fees, Fellowships and Financial Aid

What are the tuition & fees for Ph.D. students?
Tuition and fees for Ph.D. students ("Graduate Academic" fee schedule, from the Office of the Registrar). All tuition & fees are subject to change.

What is California residency?
Nonresidents, for purposes of registration, are those who have not been legal residents of California for more than one year immediately before the opening day of the semester for which they register. Legal residence is a combination of physical presence and the intention of making the state one's permanent home, coupled with the relinquishment of legal residence in any other state. International students with F-1 visas cannot be classified as California residents for tuition purposes.

More Information:

Is fellowship support provided by the I School?
Ph.D. students are offered at a minimum one year of fellowship support from the I School. This support covers all registration costs (fees and non-resident tuition) and provides a stipend for living expenses.

Subsequent funding, up until the normative time to degree completion, generally comes from teaching or research positions. Most students are successful in securing these opportunities due to the strength of their academic and professional achievements.

The University awards through competition a limited number of merit-based and diversity fellowships each year. See University Fellowships for further details.

Is financial aid available?
Federal and University loans are available to students through the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office, 201 Sproul Hall, University of California, Berkeley; Berkeley, CA 94720-1960. See Financial Aid for further details. U.S. federal financial aid is not available to students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

Student Employment

Do students work while attending the program?
A majority of our students work part-time while attending school. The course load is sufficiently heavy that students, particularly during the first year, should not plan a very heavy work schedule. Many of our on-campus students work in on-campus academic appointments (teaching and research assistants).

What are academic appointments?
Ph.D. students are eligible for "graduate academic appointments" (teaching and research assistants).

Academic Student Employee (ASE) Positions:

  • Graduate Student Instructor: Serves as an apprentice under the supervision of a regular faculty member, who is usually the Instructor of Record for the course. GSIs may lead discussion or laboratory sections, hold office hours, read student papers, assist with exams or grading, and more.
  • Reader: Performs duties related to grading of student assignments, papers, and/or examinations. They may also attend lectures, hold office hours, or have other duties, but are not assigned teaching duties.
  • Tutor: Provides tutorial services to individuals or groups of students under the direct supervision of a regular faculty member.

Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) Positions:

  • Graduate Student Researcher: Performs research under the direction of a faculty member.

Graduate students who are working in an academic appointment (GSI, GSR, Reader, Tutor), may be eligible for fee remission waivers that offset a portion or all of their tuition and fees, depending on the number of hours worked and if the student is a California resident or non-California resident. (Non-resident supplemental tuition and the professional degree supplemental tuition are not waived for students by working in an academic student appointment.) Students also receive an hourly wage by working in an academic student appointment. See Academic Appointments for further details.

International students on an F-1 or J-1 visa who are enrolled in a full-time degree program may hold an academic appointment.

The Graduate Division determines the requirements for qualifications and working conditions for all graduate student appointments. For further details, please visit the Graduate Division's Appointment Office website.

How do students secure academic appointments?
Faculty members will make individual arrangements with qualified and eligible students depending on their needs for research and teaching assistance. Opportunities are highly dependent on faculty need, and it is difficult to predict the number and kinds of jobs that will be available in a given academic year. The following website provides a helpful list of Instructor, Reader, and Tutor positions normally available each year. There is no equivalent website for researcher positions on campus.

Last updated:

July 23, 2021